Interviews from the Void: Episode #10 – Adam Inglis

Highlights There are no hard rules to writing. Managing all the tasks associated with being a writer. Strategies for our writing productivity when we only have 20-30 free minutes per day. It has an adventurous and hopeful feel, which fits my attitude to writing.  Welcome to the tenth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with short fiction writer, Adam Inglis, about how he focuses during his writing sessions. Arthur: Your website is very well maintained. Do you run it yourself? Adam: Thank you, it has taken quite a lot of work to get it looking the way it does. In short, yes I run it. I own the domain from one company (fasthosts) but the hosting and design tool comes from wix.com. They have a rather bold claim that “It all starts with your stunning website.” There is, however, some restrictions on what you can and can’t do. If you can live with that, then it’s a decent service. It took a while to accept that what I wanted was too complex. The website as it can be seen today is a happy compromise. Arthur: How do you create the images on your site? Adam: I created all the artwork using free-to-use images that I’ve either manipulated in an editor, or cropped and filtered. It is an obsessive compulsion to give every story, or poem, a sort of “cover[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #9 – Bryan Aiello

Highlights Why we need to write more than one novel to improve as writers. Being brief in our prose while keeping the flow of the story interesting. The importance of setting goals for ourselves and doing what we say we’re going to do. Writing a singular novel is not going to make you a good novelist. Writing many novels will though. Welcome to the ninth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with speculative fiction writer Bryan Aiello about finding more time to write and where he finds his inspiration. Arthur: You’re an Army Veteran. I want to personally thank you for your service. You discuss on your blog that you’re working on a military science fiction novel for 2019. Will your military experience have any influence in the story? Bryan: I enjoy writing about soldiers. If I was forced to boil it down, most of the work I have done is fictionalized military history. I use my experiences digging foxholes to imagine what life is like for people under the gun. I do have a military fiction short story collection I would like to publish. I have not done so yet. Is there ever a right time? It’s got about nine stories in it at the moment. I am debating whether there might be a more concise way to construct a collection. Hopefully within the year I will have decided[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #8 – Paul Huxley

Highlights How we learn the writing craft. Starting a publishing company and building a writing business. Writing tools and self-publishing. I believe you learn the craft mostly through osmosis. You have to submerge yourself in the best writing and then let that accumulated knowledge pour out when it’s ready. Welcome to the eighth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with fantasy and weird fiction writer Paul Huxley about developing the craft and how he started his own publishing company. Arthur: You mentioned to me that you’re a part time writer, and your other job is looking after your kids. Are you a stay at home Dad? How do you find time to write being a full-time Dad? During naps? Late at night? Early in the morning? Paul: I do have at least a couple of days a week to myself, those are often taken up with writing commissioned work. That is to say things I’m paid to write whether that be screenplays, ghostwritten novels or simply editing other people’s work. I do try to squeeze in some time to work on my own stuff. Recently I’ve taken to writing on my phone on the fly, which has lead me to produce a lot more short fiction. Arthur: Do you have a daily word count you try to achieve? How do you manage your writing schedule?  Paul: I tend to schedule[…] [Keep Reading]

What it Takes to Write a Novel

Post Highlights: It can take years to write a novel. Writing a novel doesn’t happen overnight. Take advantage of small blocks of time. Writing a novel is a journey. Focus on your overall progress. It Can Take Years to Write a Novel It took three years for Tobias Klausmann – who I interviewed in Episode #4 – to draft the third novel of his “Slingshot” series. He kept a graph of his progress, which I think is a great visual to illustrate what it really takes to craft a well-written and character-driven novel. Writing a Novel Doesn’t Happen Overnight This is real proof that nothing happens overnight, whether it’s success or a change of our habits. Everything we produce as writers – or as a creative in general – takes time, focus and energy. Many of us have sat down to write a novel and thought: “I’m going to write every day and finish this in a few months.” We set aside entire weekends to focus on nothing but our craft, only to find twenty or thirty minutes – if that – to press ahead on our project. Take Advantage of Small Blocks of Time There is always time to be found. As Eric Lahti said in Episode #7: “I sincerely believe you make time for the things you want to do.” If you want to write, you’ll make the time. However, remember that you don’t need 8 hours to be productive. You can make progress on your novel in small chunks of[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #7 – Eric Lahti

Highlights How we make time for the things we want to pursue. The type of experiences we are hoping to create for our readers. How listening to people talk helps us write great dialogue. I sincerely believe you make time for the things you want to do.  Welcome to the seventh episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Eric Lahti about his writing process, finding more time for the craft and why he writes. Arthur: On your blog, you mention you started writing five years ago. What made you start writing? And what has been the most rewarding experience you’ve taken from your writing experience? Eric: In late 2013, I was watching TV and playing Saints Row for the umpteenth time. Something clicked and I wondered if there wasn’t more out there than just watching things happen. I’d had the idea for Henchmen pinging around in my head for a while at that point (although it was quite a lot different from what that book eventually became) so I cracked open Word and started writing. About six pages in, my wife asked me what I was doing. That was a sheer panic moment – not as bad as handing her those pages to read, I hid in my office while she was reading them. Finishing that book was rewarding in and of itself. Writing a book is a[…] [Keep Reading]

Space Opera First Draft Completed

It’s a big day here at Strange World. It was my goal to finish the first draft of my space opera by the end of March, 2018, and I’ve done it. I completed the first draft of the space opera. While I was working on a horror novella throughout 2017, this idea for the space opera was itching in the back of my mind. After the horror novella turned out not to be going in the direction I wanted, I switched projects at the suggestion of my editor and began drafting ideas for the space opera. Back in November, 2017, I wrote an initial “treatment” of what the story would be, which was eventually expanded into a 33,000 word outline. As I played around with character motivations and development – along with world building – the outline went through eight revisions. The treatment also contained a 10,000 word piece of prose detailing what would become the final chapters of the project. Starting in January, 2018, I started writing. However, what’s interesting is I had the outline next to me and I never referenced it. After going through the outline so many times in incredible detail, the story and all the motivations were in my head. Thus I was able to write by stream of consciousness until today. Now it’s time to get on to the first pass of editing. After that, the test readers and my editor will have their review. There will be a title and synopsis reveal along[…] [Keep Reading]

Top Ten Writers Quotes – March, 2018

I’ve been conducting Interviews from the Void now for just over a month, and there’s been some great content shared by other writers thus far. I’ve gathered the top ten quotes from those interviews below for inspiration for other writers. “Every villain is the hero of their own story.” – S. P. Carter “You have to know when to listen and when to trust yourself.” – S. P. Carter “Learning to improve your craft is just as rewarding.” – Avrin Kelly “Writer’s block is simply out brains processing things we’ve learned as writers recently.” – Avrin Kelly “You can’t just sit down and write a screenplay. It’s a very mechanical discipline; a science all by itself.” – Andrew Hope“ Writing can only happen if a writer is intellectually honest with his or herself.” – Andrew Hope “Writing isn’t ‘I have an idea, now I’ll just write it down,’ but ‘I have an idea, I’ll start writing and see where it takes me.” – Tobias Klausmann “Don’t overplan the story and don’t cling too tightly to motifs.” – Tobias Klausmann “My main advice to writers – no matter the genre or publication route – is: write every day. You don’t need to work on any of your projects. Write a scene, write a location description. Just write.” – Tobias Klausmann “I feel that to write a good 60k word novel, you probably have to write 120k words or more and then pick the ones that are good.” – Tobias Klausmann [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #6 – A. F. Stewart

Highlights Using maps and world-building for our stories. Cover design and self-publishing. How being part of a writing group is a great way for us to get feedback as writers. I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pen; scribbling stories and poems since I was a kid. Welcome to the sixth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process and the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked horror writer A. F. Stewart about her writing process and where she finds her inspiration for her stories. Arthur: You recently published “Ghosts of the Sea Moon,” which is a great read. I’ve always thought a great book starts with a map. Is there any inspiration behind your maps? The shapes of the islands and their placement? Stewart: The maps came about because I need reference points for all the sailing my Captain and crew were doing in the book, and so I could figure the distance and speed for the story’s timeline. Their creation was basically me sitting down and squiggling some lines until I had some reasonable looking island shapes. However, as Crickwell Island turned out looking a bit like a sheep to me, I added wool as one of the town exports for the island in the second book of the series. Arthur: In Ghosts of the Sea Moon, there’s a lot of description about the ship, the Celestial Jewel. Did you have to go on a[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #5 – Christopher Ryan

Highlights Why failure is not only normal, but necessary. Charting our own paths as writers instead of following the crowd. Why being a writer is worth our time, even when it seems difficult to continue. In a way, writing allows you to live forever and that is worthy of your time. Welcome to the fifth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked fantasy Christopher Ryan about his writing process, self publishing, and turning failure into a means for finding success in writing. A. Macabe: On your blog, you discuss “killing” drafts of your previous novel, The Godkiller Chronicles – which is an awesome name. What did you learn from this process? What are you doing differently now for Children of the Void? Ryan: I had spent so many years drafting what wound up being Godkiller Chronicles that I could have published three books from the sheer amount of pages I had. But, all in all it came down to, would I read this? The brutal answer was, hell no. The work was crap. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself for a long time. When I was able to finally say to myself “this is dreck and needs to be abandoned,” I didn’t want to just shelve the work and walk away. I wanted to be proactive about it. So, I took the characters and themes and the fictional[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #4 – Tobias Klausmann

Highlights The use of names in our stories and their importance to the story’s world. Strategies for self-publishing. Why writing daily is important. Writing isn’t “I have an idea, now I’ll just write it down,” but “I have an idea, I’ll start writing and see where it takes me.” Welcome to the fourth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked science fiction writer Tobias Klausmann to tell us more about how he found his writing voice and his approach to writing character-driven science fiction. A. Macabe: You mention on your website you moved to Switzerland. What’s the history behind the move? Is English your first language? Do you think speaking multiple languages has helped your writing? Klausmann: I moved to Switzerland for work. Before June,  2010 I lived in northwestern Germany for twelve years, after moving there from the very southwest. Despite now living abroad, I am much closer to the town I grew up in. My mother tongue is German, but my father used to be an English teacher and in general – English-language media, especially music and books – were easily available to me as a kid and teenager. As for whether it helped with writing, it has definitely influenced how I think about language. Sometimes you know the perfect idiom or turn of phrase in one language, but come up empty in another. For me, that usually[…] [Keep Reading]